Using expert judgment to identify dimensions indicative of appropriate computer use in the mathematics classroom based on the NCTM Standards

Date of Completion

January 1997


Education, Mathematics|Education, Elementary|Education, Technology of




In documents regarding standards for the teaching of mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and other researchers have made it clear that computers need to be integrated appropriately into the teaching of mathematics. Current literature provides little direction for teachers concerning how to accomplish this task. This study investigated the following questions: (1) Do experts agree that dimensions, as specified by a profile checklist, Profile of Dimensions Inventory, (PDI), are indicative of quality of instruction for mathematics learning using computers in the classroom based on NCTM Standards? (2) What is the relative importance of four different dimensions as specified by the PDI as predictors of a teacher's overall level of performance when integrating computers into mathematics learning? and (3) Are specific dimensions as specified by the PDI more or less subjectively important to experts when making overall performance judgments?^ A quantitative method was used with teachers from Rhode Island schools grades 5-8. Two instruments, the Levels of Use Scale and the Stages of Concern Questionnaire, identified participants who were at high levels of integrated computer use and who showed concern for using the Standards. The Profile of Dimensions Inventory (PDI) was constructed by the researcher to rate teacher performances when using the computer for mathematics instruction. Teachers were videotaped, documenting computer use. Teachers were rated by four coders using the PDI, to indicate characteristics of dimensions that were clearly evident during instruction. Twenty representative profiles were constructed and sent to experts. Experts rated each profile in terms of quality of instruction, relative and subjective importance of dimensions. The Social Relations Model was used for analysis of data.^ There was a high level of agreement among experts when evaluating teacher performance regarding the four dimensions as indicators of quality of instruction using computers. Teacher action was the best predictor of quality of instruction, followed by environment, student action, and task. However, when evaluated subjectively, experts rated only two predictors, environment and task as significant.^ Results of the first two questions concur and are supported by literature published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. ^